Guru Kate: Which is a better breakfast: Eggs or cereal?

Illustration by Casey Kleeb
Illustration by Casey Kleeb

Many factors influence whether eggs or cereal makes the better breakfast decision. How are the eggs prepared? What do you eat with the eggs? Are you eating Captain Crunch’s Crunch Berries, or homemade granola?

Eggs have a bad rap for being a factor in heart disease. This was shown in a landmark study way back when, but the study was funded by the cereal people. Is this a conflict of interest in this battle for the best breakfast? Perhaps.
Eggs do have high levels of cholesterol, but a very small portion of the population’s blood is affected by dietary cholesterol. The rest of us have blood lipid levels that are primarily affected by our consumption of saturated fat, which is the fat that your body converts to cholesterol.

Eggs are not exempt from containing saturated fat. Each egg contains two grams of it, or approximately eight percent of the total recommended daily value. However, the harms of saturated fat can be partially avoided by the consumption of plant grains. Therefore, if you pair your morning egg with a slice of whole grain bread, you can help prevent your blood lipid profile from skyrocketing — unless you’re one of the unlucky people who is affected by dietary cholesterol. If so, limit your egg consumption.

Cereal for breakfast can be a good option. The less processed, the better. Less processing means more whole grains and a more filling product. A good rule of thumb when shopping for breakfast cereals is to look at the amount of fiber. The higher the fiber, the less processed the product is. If you still can’t decide between two favorites, look at the potassium content. Choose the cereal with higher levels of potassium, as this is also a sign of less processing.

Each breakfast option has advantages based on your schedule for the day. For example, if you are starting a day where you will be using your brain a lot and possibly doing a lot of exercise, choose eggs. They’ll help power you through to lunch without hitting a hunger wall.

However, if your day looks fairly relaxed, such some errands and household chores or some meetings with friends, choose cereal. The odds are that once you get hungry midmorning, you’ll have time to start snacking on fruit.
The choice also depends on your preferences. For example, quite a few people simply don’t like the taste of eggs. On their demanding days, I’d recommend a high-protein breakfast such as Greek yogurt with honey and tablespoon of peanut butter on toast on the side.

For people who don’t like cereal options, limit yourself to two or fewer eggs per day, no more than four to five days per week. On the days when you eat eggs, limit your saturated fat and cholesterol consumption in your other meals for the day. Balance and variety are key strategies to maintaining a healthy diet.